Football is not simply a sport but plays an important role in bringing people together to create cohesive, tolerant and inclusive communities. Football clubs are a source of local pride, helping to forge a sense of place and reinforcing positive values.
Havant and Waterlooville Football Club play in the National League South, two tiers below the English football league. The club was sitting second in the league at the point the decision was made to postpone football due to the Coronavirus.
I’ve been a season ticket holder at the club for five years and began watching because my young daughter showed an interest in football. I took her to our local team, and we were both hooked, and she attends every home match with me along with the occasional trip away. More recently, along with another supporter friend Steve, we applied for a grant to produce a documentary film and book covering the history of Havant and Waterlooville FC. This only increased my love for the club, and it was through that project that we met many of the stalwarts of the club such as our now great friends Ade Oakley and Trevor Brock.
Known generally as the Hawks, Havant and Waterlooville FC has, for many years, run a number of community initiatives from activities for young people going up to a walking football project for the over 50’s.
At the time the pandemic hit the UK, the club had been working on an application to form a charitable organisation to be known as The Hawks Community Foundation. I, along with my Hawks supporting friends, Steve and Ade had been asked to become trustees of this foundation, which when established will seek to develop the club’s work in the community. In order to be eligible to apply for grants and public funding, the foundation needs official charitable status and Charity Commission rules state that an organisation needs £5,000 in the bank for its application to be considered. Initially, this was to be put forward from within the football club but understandably has had to be used to help to keep the club running at a time when all income streams have stopped.
This is where you come in. Football plays an important role in the mental health and wellbeing of enormous numbers of people up and down this country and at the end of this pandemic we will wish to return to pastimes that have the power to heal us mentally. The Hawks Foundation can help to support the club by engaging with supporters and people of all ages in the borough of Havant through community projects by using the good name of Havant and Waterlooville Football Club and the power of football.
Please help us to raise the £5000 needed to get this foundation started and we can make sure we build on some of the work already being done and reach out to local people in other ways too. We may not be able to attend matches for some time yet, but we can do some good and help the club we love while in isolation. Together we can make sure the Hawks are at the heart of the community as we rebuild lives after Coronavirus.
Please give what you can. Thank you.
My daughter Freya wishes to say a few words…
I’ve been a Hawks supporter since I was 5 years old. My first game was in the season when we were relegated from the National South. I instantly loved being at Westleigh Park and spending time with my Dad there. We’d go to the Westleigh pub before the game and I could have a lemonade or Coke. I loved having the opportunity to scream and shout at the rival team when we were in the ground. I also learnt a few swear words from the grown-ups around me! More recently, we’d get a pizza in the Westleigh before the game with my Dad’s mates Steve and Ade and Trevor would often join us too.
My favourite memories are going away to Kingstonian and seeing us win the Ryman league, running onto the pitch before my Dad had noticed I’d gone! Watching Jason Prior score THAT goal against Concord to win the National South and celebrating with everyone afterwards and earlier this season when we beat Dorking 6:0 under the floodlights.
I miss football and can’t wait to get back to Westleigh Park when Coronavirus is over. I want to support the Hawks Community Foundation so please, get behind those Hawks!